Early voting gets off to a vigorous start across Nebraska

LINCOLN—If the numbers are any indicator, early voting is off to a robust start, according to Secretary of State John Gale.

Last week, 29,879 ballots were mailed out by 73 counties to voters who had already submitted a request. That number far exceeds the number of ballots mailed out during the first five days of early voting during the primaries in 2014, 2012, 2010 and 2008.

“Of the ballots mailed so far, 2,058 have been returned, which isn’t surprising given that the ballots went out recently,” Gale said. “Those ballots include those returned by military and overseas voters,” said Gale.

The breakdown of requests by party include: 14,318 Republicans, 13,025 Democrats, 2,458 Nonpartisans and 78 Libertarians.

Through the first five days of early voting in 2014, 23,447 requests were received. In 2012, 23,182 requests were submitted during that same period.

“Given that we are looking at a remarkable increase in the number of requests for a single day, I’d say that we can expect this primary to be an active one, which will hopefully translate to higher turnout, both from early voting and on Election Day,” Gale said.

Voters can track the status of their ballots through the Voter Information Center on the Secretary of State’s website under the “Elections” tab at www.sos.ne.gov.

Registered voters in Nebraska can request an early voting ballot 120 days prior to the election. Mail-in ballots are due at the county election office by the close of polls on Election Day.

“The application can be faxed or emailed to the appropriate county election official. If the person is not yet registered to vote, an application will be included if the request is received by April 22,” Gale said. “The last day someone can request that an early ballot be mailed to them is 4 p.m. on May 4.”

Gale said the easiest method for receiving an early voting ballot is to request it from the county election office. Forms are also available on the Secretary of State’s website. Signed forms must be mailed, emailed or faxed to the proper county election office for processing.

In-person early voting at county election offices runs April 11 through May 9.

“Given the many opportunities that voters have to cast a ballot, I’m hopeful participation will be high during the primary,” Gale said.